Male pilots and cabin crew working for British Airways will be permitted to have piercings, wear ‘man buns’, and put on makeup for the first time, after the airline updated its guidelines with non-gender-specific rules.
From Monday 14 November all employees who would normally wear uniform will be allowed to put on false eyelashes, apply mascara and nail polish, and wear earrings.
They will also be allowed handbags, an internal memo told staff.
Staff are urged to use “subtle shades” of makeup and aim for a “natural look”, according to the updated rules. Black and neon nail polish will not be permitted, and neither will visible tattoos.
Uniforms and inclusion
BA stated: “We are proud of all of our colleagues at British Airways and we are committed to an inclusive working environment.
“We have worked with our people to create updated guidelines for grooming, beauty and accessories, allowing our colleagues to bring the best, most authentic version of themselves to work every day.”
BA is thought to be trying to update its image to keep up with the likes of Virgin Atlantic, which has used gender diversity as part of its brand appeal in advertising.
However, Virgin Atlantic has gone further than BA by allowing staff to choose non-specific gender uniform, with men able to choose skirts just as women can opt for trousers. Virgin also allows visible tattoos.
Virgin first relaxed rules forcing female crew to wear makeup in 2019.
BA has told staff to “be bold, be proud, be yourself”, adding that it hopes the guidelines will be “embraced by everyone regardless of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, background, culture, sexual identity, or otherwise”.
Qatar Airways is British Airways’ major shareholder and runs a joint route network, but has a far more restrictive dress code policy. It remains to be seen how British Airways’ new policy will apply on routes to Doha and other countries where strict dress codes apply.
Latest HR job opportunities on Personnel Today